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Nation

Pray for us, families displaced by Zambo siege ask Pope

Roel Pareño - The Philippine Star

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – Families displaced by the 2013 siege here trickled back into the resettlement site yesterday, as they hoped Pope Francis would pray for them.

Overseas Filipino worker Esterlita Garcueva, 45, still remembers fleeing from her house clad only in her undergarments when 400 fully armed rebels attacked her village.

Garcueva was among the beneficiaries of the 19 housing units turned over yesterday by the National Housing Authority (NHA) to the Sta. Catalina village as part of the permanent resettlement program under the Build Back Better scheme of the Zamboanga Roadmap to Rehabilitation and Recovery.

“The ugly face of war was not worth remembering. We hope Pope Francis would include us in his prayers, that this conflict will be over and all our neighbors will now join us back in the permanent resettlement site,” she said.

Garcueva was among the 120,000 people who fled and lost their homes during the siege.

The 19 units of permanent housing from the NHA are part of about 400 tenements needed in at least four resettlement areas, according to Sta. Catalina barangay chairman Jimmy Villaflores.

He said the NHA has so far turned over about a hundred housing units in his village alone. The agency is targeting the completion of more than 7,000 units in at least four barangays by June this year, he added.

“It is still lacking in terms of housing units. But we are happy to see our people trickling back,” he said.

Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said Garcueva was just one of the mothers who restored their livelihood by putting up sari-sari (convenient) stores and selling popcorn and candles ats the nearby Fort Pilar Shrine.

“We pray that during his visit, Pope Francis would pray for Zamboanga as there are still evacuees. Santo Papa resa para el paz del ciudad (Pope pray for the peace of the city),” Salazar said.

 

BUILD BACK BETTER

ESTERLITA GARCUEVA

FORT PILAR SHRINE

GARCUEVA

ISABELLE CLIMACO-SALAZAR

JIMMY VILLAFLORES

MAYOR MA

NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY

OVERSEAS FILIPINO

POPE FRANCIS

REHABILITATION AND RECOVERY

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